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August 17, 2011

China already has advanced stealth technology


August 17, 2011

China is not interested in acquiring the stealth technology currently being used by the United States for its flying machines as it has already developed the same in a much advanced shape and is using it in its most sophisticated multi-role planes, highly placed defence sources told The News here Monday.
The planes have successfully conducted their test flights early this year and China is now in the production phase of its stealth planes. A chopper fitted with stealth characteristics is not much different to what is used for the fixed-wings planes. The Chinese never requested Pakistan to provide any sort of access to the debris of the US stealth chopper that crashed in the Abbottabad operation on May 2 in which American special forces reportedly killed Osama bin Laden (OBL) and took his body to Afghanistan.
Highly placed defence sources say American satellites were monitoring the movement in and around Abbottabad during the days when the debris was lying outside the OBL compound. The area was under the constant watch of the world media and US moles were also actively at work during that period. In such a situation it was not possible for any Chinese expert to examine the tail of the chopper and, secondly, China never asked for such access. The stealth planes exterior is made of highly specialised materials such as Polygraphite. China has complete knowledge of the technology and is successfully using it already, the sources maintained.
They pointed out that the western media reports pertaining to so-called inspection by the Chinese experts is totally baseless and it appearance after more than three months depicts ill-intention. The purpose is to malign Pakistan and build pressure on it.
Providing background of the technology the sources said that it is used to avoid detection by employing a combination of features to interfere with radar as well as reduce visibility in the infrared, visual, audio, and radio frequency (RF) spectrum.

Development of stealth technology began in Germany during World War II.
Well-known modern examples of stealth aircraft include the United States’ F-117 Nighthawk (1981-2008), the B-2 Spirit, the F-22 Raptor, and the F-35 Lightning II. While no aircraft is totally invisible to radar, stealth aircraft prevents conventional radar from detecting or tracking the aircraft effectively, reducing the odds of a successful attack.
Stealth is the combination of passive low observable (LO) features and active emitters such as Low Probability of Intercept Radars, radios and laser designators. These are usually combined with active defences such as chaff, flares, and ECM. It is accomplished by using a complex design philosophy to reduce the ability of an opponent’s sensors to detect, track, or attack the stealth aircraft. This philosophy also takes into account the heat, sound, and other emissions of the aircraft as these can also be used to locate it. It has already been established that the United States does not have monopoly on the stealth technology, as some other countries are also equipped with it.
Full-size stealth combat aircraft demonstrators have been flown by the United States in 1977, Russia in 2010 and China in 2011, while the US Military has already adopted three stealth designs, and is preparing to adopt another.
Most recent fighter designs will at least claim to have some sort of stealth, low observable, reduced RCS or radar jamming capability, but as yet there has been no actual air-to-air combat experience against stealth aircraft.
During World War I, an attempt to reduce the visibility of military aircraft resulted in the German heavy bomber, the Linke-Hofmann R.I; this had a wooden structure covered with transparent material. The first true “stealth” aircraft may have been the Horten Ho 229 flying wing fighter-bomber, developed in Germany during the last years of World War II. In the closing weeks of the war the US military initiated “Operation Paperclip”, an effort by the US Army to capture as much advanced German weapons research as possible, and also to deny that research to advancing Soviet troops. A Horton glider and the Ho 229 number V3 were secured and sent to Northrop Aviation for evaluation in the United States, which much later used a flying wing design for the B-2 stealth bomber. The first combat use of purpose-designed stealth aircraft was in December 1989 during Operation Just Cause in Panama. On 20 December 1989, two USAF F-117s bombed a Panamanian Defence Force barracks in Rio Hato, Panama. In 1991, F-117s were tasked with attacking the most heavily fortified targets in Iraq in the opening phase of Operation Desert Storm and were the only jets allowed to operate inside Baghdad’s city limits.
Stealth aircraft are typically more expensive to develop and manufacture. An example is the B-2 Spirit that is many times more expensive than the conventional bomber aircraft. The B-2 programme cost the U.S. Air Force almost $45 billion.
Stealth aircraft have been used in several conflicts: the United States invasion of Panama, the Gulf War, the Kosovo conflict, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and the 2011 military intervention in Libya. To date, the United States of America is the only country to have used stealth aircraft in combat.
The first use of stealth aircraft was in the United States invasion of Panama, where F-117 Nighthawk stealth attack aircraft were used to drop bombs on enemy airfields and positions while evading enemy radars. The successful first deployment of stealth aircraft to a combat zone marked a milestone in military aviation. In 1990 the F-117 Nighthawk was used again in the Gulf War, where F-117s flew approximately 1,300 sorties and scored direct hits on 1,600 high-value targets in Iraq while accumulating over 6,905 flight hours. Only 2.5% of the American aircraft in Iraq were F-117s, yet they struck more than 40% of the strategic targets, dropping over 2,000 tons of precision-guided munitions and striking their targets with over an 80% success rate.
The sources pointed out that in the 1999 NATO bombing of Yugoslavia two stealth aircraft were used by the United States, the veteran F-117 Nighthawk, and the newly introduced B-2 Spirit strategic stealth bomber. The F-117 performed its usual role of striking precision high-value targets and performed well, although one F-117 was shot down by a Serbian Isayev S-125 ‘Neva-M’ missile. The new B-2 Spirit was highly successful, destroying 33% of selected Serbian bombing targets in the first eight weeks of U.S. involvement in the War.
During this war, B-2s flew non-stop to Kosovo from their home base in Missouri and back.
In the 2003 invasion of Iraq, F-117 Nighthawks and B-2 Spirits were again used, and this was the last time the F-117 would see combat.
F-117s dropped satellite-guided strike munitions on selected targets, with high success. B-2 Spirits conducted 49 sorties in the invasion, releasing more than 1.5 million pounds of munitions. The most recent use of stealth aircraft was in the 2011 military intervention in Libya, where B-2 Spirits dropped 40 bombs on a Libyan airfield with concentrated air defences in support of the UN no-fly zone. In future, it is likely that stealth aircraft will continue to play a valuable role in air combat. In future conflicts the United States is likely to use F-22 Raptor, B-2 Spirit, and the F-35 Lightning II to perform a variety of operations.
In Russia, the Sukhoi PAK FA stealth multi-role fighter is to be introduced in 2015, to perform a wide variety of missions. In India, the Sukhoi/HAL FGFA, the Indian version of the PAK FA, is to be introduced from 2017 in higher numbers, also to perform a wide variety of missions. In China, the Chengdu J-20 stealth multi-role fighter is to be pressed into service around 2018. A prototype was flown early this year.
The sources reminded that the only time a stealth aircraft has been shot down was on 27 March 1999, during Operation Allied Force. An American F-117 Nighthawk’s bomb bay had malfunctioned causing it to remain open for an unusually long time, allowing a Serbian Air Defence crew who were operating their radars on unusually long wavelengths to launch an Isayev S-125 ‘Neva-M’ missile at it, which brought it down.
The pilot ejected and was rescued and the aircraft itself remained relatively intact due to striking the ground at a slow speed in inverted position. A B-2 crashed on February 23, 2008 shortly after takeoff from Andersen Air Force Base in Guam, the sources added.

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